Functional Medicine Coaching Academy
Functional Medicine Coaching Academy
Get the gold standard in health coaching education. Our award-winning hands-on program offers 100% online training in the skills and tools you need to succeed as a Health Coach.
The FMCA groundbreaking, life-transforming curriculum prepares you to connect meaningfully with clients and partner effectively with practitioners using cutting-edge research and techniques presented by our industry’s most influential experts.
We approach the world of health and wellness through positive psychology, functional medicine and nutrition, mind-body medicine, and the art and science of coaching.
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Our Health Coach Certification program fully prepares you with the training, experience, tools, and expertise you need to succeed as a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach (FMCHC). Get everything you need to hit the ground running as a health coach after graduation, all in one-year-long program. The letters you’ll add after your name as a graduate - FMCHC - will let the world know that you are a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach.
Your go-to resource for in-depth information about our FMCA Health Coach Certification Program and everything else we offer!
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when starting your own coaching practice.
Market and grow your coaching practice with proven strategies and tools for success. Ace the basics and then learn to leverage what makes you unique, whether you're working independently or as part of a collaborative care team.
Our powerhouse group of business and marketing experts will help you get the basics down and then go in-depth, so you can build the coaching career you envision for yourself.
Cover need-to-know topics:
You’ll learn from our powerhouse group of educators how to apply proven strategies, tactics, and tools to create a successful health coaching business and/or become a valued member of a collaborative care team.
As the gold standard in health coach training, we share many of the same educators, and curriculum, with The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) practitioner training. Because of this collaborative partnership, we're the only health coaching program where you learn to “speak the language of Functional Medicine”—and that sets you apart for the rest of your career. This distinction uniquely prepares you to work with Functional Medicine practitioners as a valuable part of a Collaborative Care team.
FMCA is an approved Health and Wellness Coach Training & Education Program by the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC), which means graduates may choose to pursue board certification after graduation. The new credential, “National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach,” or NBC-HWC, is quickly becoming the indicator for coaches with the highest level of training available.
FMCA received the United States Distance Learning Association’s (USDLA) Excellence in Teaching/Training Award for 2020. This award recognizes FMCA for teaching that demonstrates extraordinary achievements and effective learning facilitated through technology with measurable outcomes.
Our Health Coach Certification Program has received approval for Continuing Education with a variety of professional organizations. Download the Info Packet to learn more about our different continuing education approvals.
To fully prepare health coaches by providing them with state-of-the-art learning that encompasses the evidence-based principles of Functional Medicine, positive psychology, functional nutrition, and mind-body medicine, all within a coaching framework; to accommodate diverse cultural backgrounds and learning styles, and to equip graduates to grow successful careers worldwide and become drivers for creating positive changes in the lives of their future clients and their communities-at-large.
We commit to uphold the following values: Act as givers; appreciate the goodness of others and express thanks; show humility in our words and actions; embrace activities whole-heartedly, take initiative to ensure goals are met; expect the best and work to achieve it; challenge with compassion; persevere despite obstacles, have fun and bring smiles to everyone.
Establish your own health and wellness coaching business, work on a collaborative care team in a medical practice, implement wellness programs in a corporate setting, or use your training in combination with your current position. Many students choose a combination of these paths to create their own ideal career.
Start envisioning your own path as a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach!
My name is Darrell Price and I am a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach, certified workshop facilitator, and certified life coach with extensive experience in geriatrics. I live in Ridgecrest, CA and I graduated from The Functional Medicine Coaching Academy in August 2019.
I’ve always known two things: the human body is amazing, and I love helping people. As a college baseball player, I was truly inspired by my fellow athletes’ ability to perform, to set and achieve ambitious physical goals. Various internships allowed me to further explore goal-setting and achievement as a way to help others. So when a mentor advised me to become an executive life coach, I felt a spark. I started reading, started focusing on my own growth so that I could make a difference in other people’s lives. After earning my Bachelor of Science in Human Services, I spent over 15 years in the social service field managing grants for homeless veterans, working with people with disabilities, doing employment training programs with ex-offenders, and working with group homes. It felt so good to help others create positive change.
Years later, I went through a major health journey—I lost about 70lbs with the help of my Functional Medicine physician (shoutout to Dr. Megan Stone, D.O.!). It’s not an overstatement to say that she changed my world. My diet and food choices look completely different now. I’m an ultramarathon runner and just recently finished a 100-miler! And it’s all thanks to Functional Medicine. Like many FMCA students, my journey is what inspired me to pursue coaching (in fact, my doctor is the person who referred me to The Functional Medicine Coaching Academy).
I knew I wanted to join a health coaching program that focused on using positive strengths to motivate clients. When I was researching, I found that The Functional Medicine Coaching Academy connected to my vision of positive psychology; FMCA incorporates character strengths incorporated throughout the entire course. This is the key to behavior change, and now I use what I’ve learned with my own clients to get results.
Where am I now? I’ve already signed up to sit for the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaches (NBHWC) Board Certifying exam. Being able to sit for the Boards not only gives FMCA’s program credibility, it also gives my business credibility, and I didn’t realize how much that mattered until after I graduated.
I'm also continuing my studies with FMCA. I’m a member of the FMCA Alumni Program, and I’m taking the Short Courses: Intro to Corporate Wellness and Reversing Cognitive Decline. I think the biggest thing I want to emphasize is that it is so important to invest in a program with platforms that can help you continue to grow...because this industry is growing fast.
Since graduating, I started my own health coaching business, in addition to my Life Coaching business—something I’ve felt much more equipped to do thanks to the support I’ve received from the FMCA Alumni Program. Right now, when I have a client that comes to me for a specific issue, I can look back over my curriculum, listen to a webinar on that specific topic to refresh my memory, and then I meet the client with everything I need to be their coach. That's the advantage of being a part of Alumni Program, you have access to everything you need! You can tell that everyone who works for FMCA puts in a lot of effort into the student experience. I love to see the growth, and I know they’re constantly getting better and creating even more opportunities for students and grads.
Currently, I coach both in- and out-of-state clients; I coach from home using Zoom video conferencing for out-of-state clients, and I visit my clients’ homes for sessions if they’re in-state. I also host weekly workshops at our local hospital. At the hospital, I started a seniors group where I coach about 50 seniors on happiness and health every week. Additionally, I am an Alzheimer's Caregiver Facilitator at my local nursing home, and every week I do a Happy Hour Program where we dress up in fun outfits and sing music. I’ve also hosted health workshops geared toward customer service companies, but now that I'm a health coach, I'm interested in additionally moving into the corporate wellness space. I have even recently taught a health workshop in India!
I’ve found that hosting seminars about food, moving forward, positivity, and other topics are great ways to find clients. I use social media to market my business, but honestly, it’s about having a few really, really solid clients that refer people to you. I always go the extra mile to personally build a connection with clients so that they can’t help but send their network to me for coaching. I even send personalized notes to my clients at home—just one simple gesture can mean retaining a customer and finding a new one. That’s what works for me.
One final thought: the single best thing about The Functional Medicine Coaching Academy was the people I met in my cohort group. I loved our cohort, and I loved that we are all there for the same reason: we want to be coaches. Every Live Training Session with my cohort reminded me of why I’m there, that I have a story, too. I loved being a part of a group of people who share my health mindset and all want each other to succeed. We really want to help people, we really want to treat the whole person, and when you treat the whole person, everyone wins.
Chippewa Falls, WI
My name is Kristine Greener and I am a Certified Health Education Specialist and Certified Functional Medicine Health Coach. I live in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and I graduated from The Functional Medicine Coaching Academy in June of 2017. I worked as a Physical Therapist Assistant for over 25 years, and I taught physical therapy assistant classes at our local technical college while going back to school to earn my Bachelor of Science. I graduated at age 50 with my B.S. in Health & Wellness Management in May 2016, and then I started FMCA’s Health Coach Certification in July 2016. What a whirlwind it’s been!
I have always had an interest in living a healthy lifestyle, and I knew I wanted to take a more natural approach. After 25 years as a healthcare provider, I went back to school because I was tired of seeing people who were already sick! I wanted to advocate for a preventive and natural approach to health so that people would stop getting sick in the first place.
One day, I saw a post from Dr. Mark Hyman, one of my favorite health experts, where he recommended The Functional Medicine Coaching Academy. I checked it out, and it was right up my alley! I signed up right away because it was clear that FMCA matched my own belief in a healthy lifestyle.
My initial vision for my career after Health Coaching Certification was to work with an MD on a collaborative care team or to start my own health coaching business. I actually ended up doing both!
Shortly after graduation, I started contracting with a doctor as her clinic’s health coach. It started off as a part-time position, and eventually it led to full-time, with a split between coaching and supplement management for 2½ years. I now work full-time with an MD who is in private practice offering a medical weight loss program using the keto diet, and he has a direct pay clinic. I am his first health coach! He had such a challenge with helping clients implement and sustain results since opening in 2011, so he turned to health coaching for a more holistic approach. Now he has 3 office locations, is opening another, and plans to grow a team of health coaches to work with the clients!
That said, it’s not all easy. Where I live, health coaching is a new thing for physicians, so I had to make my own path. It’s a big obstacle that there are so many people calling themselves “coaches” when in reality they have no training, no certification, never attended a NBHWC-approved program, and don’t know anything about behavior change! So I tell people what exactly I can do for them, how I fit into their practice, what I can do for their patients. I definitely hit lots of challenges being the first certified coach in my area.
FMCA has opened up so many new career opportunities for me, but the best part of the program is the direct access you get to top names in Functional Medicine. You can send your questions directly to experts like Dr. Mark Hyman and Dr. Tom O’Bryan! It was such a pleasure learning from the most respected names in Functional Medicine. I also loved how accessible FMCA’s founders are. It was so nice connecting with Sandi and Elyse on group calls and at events in person. As I continue to follow my healthy lifestyle path, I’m grateful to FMCA for changing my life.
My name is Stefanie Dworkin, and I am a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach, filmmaker, photographer, and teacher. I live in Brooklyn, New York and graduated from the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy in January of 2018.
I’ve always been interested in health and well-being, and I learned at a young age that an integrative approach can be incredibly powerful. I grew up in California going to health food stores with my family—that was back in the ‘80s, when “health food” was still weird!
Then, in 1989, my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. Conventional doctors said she wouldn’t survive radiation therapy, and since that was all they could offer us, we decided to take a different approach to healing. We found an alternative medicine clinic in Mexico that specialized in treating cancer and spent almost a year going back and forth for her treatment. I saw practitioners trying unconventional methods to help people who were fighting for their lives, and it just opened my eyes to a side of healthcare I had never seen before.
My mom passed away almost a year to her diagnosis, but she died happy that she fought the way that she wanted to. And I felt good knowing I supported her in that fight.
As I got older, my interest in alternative approaches to healthcare only grew. When I was a grad student in New York and needed to find a new doctor, I decided it was time I had an integrative healthcare practitioner as my primary care physician. As I’d discover later, the doctor I chose actually had a background in Functional Medicine!
In 2016, my doctor noticed that I had an elevated thyroid antibody and put me in a category of Hashimoto’s—not full-blown, because I didn’t have any symptoms of it, but still tough news to hear. My curiosity was piqued, and I started researching: What was the holistic approach to treating Hashimoto’s?
That’s when I came across Functional Medicine, and it opened up a whole new area that was very exciting to me. I started watching videos and listening to Functional Medicine podcasts, learning models of expected treatment with a Functional Medicine approach. I got so into it, I wanted to learn everything about it and make it part of my life. I even explored another health coaching program, but it just seemed so generic. I knew that a basic health coach training wouldn’t be enough. So I kept exploring...
One day, at James Maskell’s Functional Forum meetup, I heard someone give a talk on health coaching as a critical part of the Functional Medicine collaborative care model. They mentioned FMCA and its partnership with The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), and that their Health Coach Certification was breaking new ground in the field. I was hooked!
Because of the IFM connection, choosing FMCA felt like a no brainer. First, I couldn’t believe that as a student, I’d be learning directly from these world-class doctors! The curriculum felt so empowering for me, too. I wanted this information so badly, and it felt like FMCA was taking me right to the source. For me, there was no question: this was what I wanted.
Once I registered and the program began, it just rang so true to what’s important to me and what I’m about (and in some surprising ways). Going into it, I was definitely most drawn by the Functional Medicine side of the curriculum. I already loved my career as a teacher and filmmaker, so I wasn’t planning on health coaching professionally. But I found that I loved learning about coaching and how to help people on their path to better health and well-being. That’s a useful (and powerful) skill no matter what you do for work!. And I could even see connections between Functional Medicine Health Coaching and my current career. Lately I’ve been lucky to work on video projects in the Functional Medicine space, including a few projects with FMCA! It’s so exciting to find the right balance for our lives. That's what I strive for.
Now that I’ve graduated, I’ve applied a lot of the wellness techniques and diet principles that I learned in my own life. I feel a new sense of balance and health, and I’ve become more grounded and aware. And while I’m not a practicing coach, my friends and family know I’m a resource now! They come to me to talk about things they're struggling with and look for support, which I’m happy to offer. They appreciate my mind and way I approach things (it’s the Coach Approach!). I have FMCA to thank for that.
My year with FMCA changed me a lot, and I know I’ll never stop learning. I still listen to podcasts and follow industry voices like Dr. Mark Hyman. And I'd like to integrate Functional Medicine Health Coaching into my career even more, though I’m not sure what I want that to look like yet. Maybe I’ll work on health films, something that would let me go deeper and make a profound impact, in my own way, to challenge the systems that are making us sick.
What’s the best part of FMCA? Besides the curriculum (which is exceptional), it’s the community. Hands down. Even after graduating, I’ve been able to stay so connected, and I’ve even deepened my involvement in the Functional Medicine world. And that has made me very happy.
My name is Shelley Bitzer and I am a National Board for Health & Wellness Coaches (NBHWC) Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach. I currently own a coaching business, and I am a co-founder of a corporate wellness program. I live 50/50 in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, I hold a Bachelor's of Science and Business Administration with a minor in Marketing and Economics, and I was a stay-at-home mom for 20 years. I graduated The Functional Medicine Coaching Academy in January of 2018 and then sat for (and passed!) the NBHWC Board-Certification exam.
You really never know when a defining moment in life is going to come and shake you up! Shortly after my kids “flew the nest,” I discovered that I was pretty sick with Lyme disease and mold, and that led me to seek Functional Medicine with Dr. Mark Hyman. One day, I was just lying on the sofa with my laptop, feeling sick and poking around the internet. All of a sudden, there was Dr. Hyman’s face, larger than life and saying, “You can have a career helping others. Become a coach at The Functional Medicine Coaching Academy.” It struck a chord! I happened to have a telehealth appointment with Dr. Hyman later that day, and when I mentioned it to him, he said, “Do it, go for it. I think you'd be great!”
In researching FMCA, it just felt right. I am a firm believer in the merits of Functional Medicine as a way to make sense of why you're sick and how, by changing your diet and lifestyle, you can find a way to be well. It’s a full picture of health, and that’s what’s missing from the conventional model. I knew I wanted to be a part of the force for change, so I registered and jumped right in.
Initially, I envisioned using my health coaching career as a part-time job, doing virtual coaching with clients who are living with Lyme disease and mold like I am. What actually happened is a little different! While at FMCA, I met the most amazing group of coaches, people with whom I could converse, go deep, and brainstorm. Now, we work together! We organize a monthly meeting with a healthcare organization that advocates around the Functional Medicine approach to reversing cognitive decline, where we provide feedback and ideas to top decision makers. We’ve also written a cookbook together (launching soon!) and we’ve just started a corporate wellness program. In addition, I’m serving as a Clinical Coordinator for a practitioner in Sacramento who’s getting his business off the ground. I have my own Health Coaching business on the side, too. I never could have imagined I’d be working in such diverse parts of the field (and with friends by my side)!
When I was younger, I always dreamed of becoming a nurse, but it was never quite the right move for me. Now, I feel like I’m fulfilling that dream in my own way, and that’s given me a new sense of purpose and peace. And I’m proud of the example I’m setting for my kids. You know the saying, “fall down seven times, get up eight”? Thats me. Even while I was sick, I was actively and enthusiastically seeking out what's next. They saw me work really hard for something, and now they’re seeing it pay off.
FMCA opened so many doors, so my advice is to stay flexible—don’t pigeonhole yourself! I’ve been able to explore so many different opportunities, and my clients have found me in so many different ways. They contact me through my website, or we meet at a community networking event, and I’ve had lots of referrals from other coaches, too. All these unexpected opportunities have just been amazing.
And Sandi and Elyse are such incredible supporters. That’s probably the best part of getting my Health Coach Certification with FMCA: the community. Actually, it’s more like a family. The availability, the support, and the camaraderie is like nothing I’ve experienced. Now that I’ve graduated, their Short Courses are keeping me close to this dynamically supportive and growing family, and it's so wonderful to have the founders behind me, too! They are genuinely happy for the success of their students. FMCA really challenges you to be the best possible version of yourself. I never expected to find all this in an online program.